The old lady at the pharmacy counter obviously wore an adult diaper. That tell-tale sharp urine scent half-masked by sweet-smelling chemicals emanated from her, and the Rude Pundit stood right behind her yesterday, waiting to pick up the pills that prevent him from going on a five-state killing spree. She was getting three prescriptions. The total was $6.00. This puzzled the old lady. She had never paid anything before, and even this seemingly small amount was obviously causing her consternation. The cashier checked with the pharmacist, who said that there had been a minor change to her plan, and now she had to pay a little for the scrips, a buck-fifty, three bucks. She apologized and put aside the couple of other things she was going to purchase to pay for the medicine.
The Rude Pundit didn't know if the change had been to Medicare or to a supplemental plan, but, either way, she was being asked to contribute more than she had before, which she did. He also thought of another story, one that he thinks about a great deal these days.
A drug benefit cut for an old lady in a diaper and a closed tax loophole on private jets are not balance. That six bucks cut into that woman's limited income in profound ways. To use the friend's equation in reverse (times ten), $6 is like $3000. And even that's not a big deal to the wealthy because you can bet that the woman is living paycheck to paycheck. The millionaire has shitloads of money that don't even count as taxable income.
Our savage economic inequality in this country is coming to a head. We talk about "spending cuts," as if what we're not really talking about is "making the poor pay more for stuff." We talk as if the services that are cut will be picked up by the aching states and cities. And we talk about nonsense like "shared sacrifice," as if that's the rational position in any of this. When the wealthy actually sacrifice something, we can talk about sharing.